Cody Gakpo has revealed that Jurgen Klopp challenged him to replicate Roberto Firmino's importance to Liverpool after his January switch to Anfield.
Firmino left Liverpool at the end of last season but Liverpool were well-prepared for the Brazilian's departure, having swooped to sign Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven for £35m six months earlier — beating Manchester United to his signature.
Despite having spent most of his career as a winger, Gakpo has been used predominantly as a central striker since his move to Liverpool, and the 24-year-old has now revealed that was Klopp's plan for him all along.
"[Klopp] immediately said in January: 'Cody can press well, he can do as a striker what Roberto Firmino did for us for years'," Gakpo told «I am challenged to get out of my comfort zone. I like that.»
Gakpo enjoyed an electric start to life in England and ended his first six months at Liverpool with seven goals and three assists to his name, and he admitted he feels «blessed» to be where he is today.
«It's been an exciting year in which I made a beautiful journey,» Gakpo continued. «And I'm still on it.
»I feel very much at home in Liverpool. Football is going well, we live nice. My girlfriend is happy and my family and friends are also experiencing everything. We are blessed."
Gakpo's versatility has also seen him deployed in several different positions at Liverpool, including in his native left-wing role and even as a central midfielder.
«Since Cody has been here, he has played many positions. He had to play in midfield but that was never the plan, we just had to do it,» Klopp revealed earlier this month. «He is a versatile striker and arrives into the box well. He’s a top player and a good character.»
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